What ever happened to rowing machines? Several years ago, everybody said rowing was the single best exercise you could do. Now you can’t find a rowing machine anywhere. What gives?
Contrary to what the media would have you believe, there is no single best exercise. When someone tells me they have a “best exercise,” I ask, “Best for what? Best for who?” Being fit means having a basic level of numerous qualities: strength, power, aerobic endurance, flexibility. No one exercise performed in one manner simultaneously promotes all of these qualities. As for the diminished popularity of rowing machines, for the general fitness crowd the rowing machine requires too much effort and doesn’t look fancy compared to an elliptical. The media has conditioned many people to believe that the higher tech and prettier the machine is, the more effective it will be in increasing fitness. In reality, generally the opposite is true.
Jamie Hale is a Kentucky-based trainer responsible for whipping mountain climbers, bobsledders, body builders, and Ultimate Fighters into shape.